tv NBC Bay Area News Special NBC June 30, 2014 12:00am-12:31am PDT
you're watching an nbc bay area news special. "reality check." >> we worry about marijuana and the increase in drunk drivers on highways. >> public officials sounded the alarm in colorado over legalizing pot, predicting a new wave of crime and duis. we blow through the smoke and see if crime has surged since recreational pot became legal. and pg & e is flooding the air waves with adds just like this. >> we work hard to make sure that all the families and communities are safe. >> but how safe and reliable is the energy company four years after the san bruno pipeline explosion. >> it's not going to be a 500-year drought this year.
>> the drought is bad, but historically bad? we examine the numbers and let you know where the current drought stacks up. >> and -- >> this is a buyer beware situation. the difficulty is it's often hard for people to understand exactly what they're getting into. >> you've probably seen countless commercials for reverse mortgages pitched by celebrities. they sound almost too good to be true. are they? here's nbc bay area's sam brock. >> good evening and thank you for joining us for the next 30 minutes, we'll expose the realities and facts behind some of the highest profile, most controversial issues in the bay area. reality check is about understanding what's really going on in the world by using data, research and expert analysis to vet claims. well, tonight, we begin with a lightning rod issue, smoking pot recreationally and doing it legally. people lighting up across colorado where it's been legal since the start of the year. now, critics predict opening the flood gates to marijuana would increase crimes and dui. now we have data to evaluate the
accuracy of that claim. >> reporter: in the run-up to colorado's 2012 vote and after, critics said marijuana's link to criminal activity wouldn't be so sweet. claiming that overall crime would rise and legalization of marijuana would change denver. its own mayor even worried about an uptick in crime, robberies and intrusions. several months in, has crime actually gone up? well, denver's home to the bulk of recreational pot sellers. and so far, according to that city's police department, crime hasn't risen since the law went into effect on january 1. in fact, it's gone down. in the first five months of 2014, denver p.d. reports violent crime sank 1.9% compared to the year before. property crime went down more than 11%. the stats have forced one local critic, mendocino county sheriff to rethink some of his concerns. >> i was wrong. i was wrong and i thought there would be an increase of out of
staters coming in and causing personal crime. and so i hope that it continues to go down. what law enforcement officer would want crime to go up? >> but still worries drug-related duis will jump up and he's not alone. >> we would not be witnessing the chaotic state of affairs we see in california now. >> kim rayney testifying about california's medical marijuana law. says for him a rise in duis was always his biggest concern. >> from a safety standpoint, we worry about marijuana and the increase in drugged drivers on the highway. and the first three months, colorado has seen an increase. >> turns out, that claim is true. but the numbers don't pop out, at least not yet. from january 1st to april 19th this year, there were 17 marijuana-related duis in denver compared to 11 last year. >> i predict it's going to
continue to increase because law enforcement is trying to catch up to the training necessary to get a driving under the influence of marijuana. >> and maybe law enforcement has started to catch up because the dui figures do pop out now. through six months of the year, the city of denver reports 37 drug-related duis up from 18 just a year ago. that's an increase of more than 100% and something to keep an eye on. in the meantime, claims that a violent or property crime spike were wrong based on what we've seen in denver. we'll soon have more testing grounds. here's a look at the ten testing states including in california where they're fighting to get marijuana treated the same way as alcohol. and advocates say they're getting started. their goal is to convince voters to approve legalization of recreational pot during the 2016 presidential cycle. it's probably safe to assume this will continue to be a hot-button issue, especially with washington state opening its first recreational pot shop
on july 1st. well, switching gears now, a change being made to pg & e. launched a charm offensive on tv and across social media to make sure you know about their investments in safety and infrastructure. but is pg & e now the safest and most reliable in the country? and if not, where does it rank? a recent promo had us wondering. >> i'm the supervisor here in san francisco. >> in tv ads like this one, pg & e is talking about the public about improvements made to the system. it's a discussion that extends from the air waves to social media and twitter where pg & e tweeted about the new changes and also paid to advertise them. this promotion which automatically lands in user feeds highlights, quote, how pg & e continues the work to be the safest and most reliable energy company in the country. if you're confused whether this
is a promise or a claim, so were we. so we asked. >> you're saying does not say you are the safest and most reliable in the country or does. >> it's our vision to be the safest and most reliable gas company in the country. it became very clear after what happened in san bruno we had to make major changes. and now we are on that road. >> greg snapper says the company made wholesale improvements to the gas networks since the san bruno incident. from a new gas control center that allows employees to monitor everything that's happening on the service grid in realtime to automatic valves that shut down gas pipes in case of an emergency. so far, though, those fix-ups haven't yet made a dent in the company's safety and reliability rankings. >> pg & e is in the segments and below the average for segments. it's worth pointing out that high-performing segments. >> andrew heat is senior director of energy is talking to us via skype about the recent
study on gas utility customer satisfaction, which includes questions about safety and reliability. when residential customers weighed in pg & e received a score 6 out of 9 companies. and a notch or two below the segment's average score represented by this black line. business companies scored pg & e even worse. the feedback landed the company ninth out of ten and well below the average. not indicative of the safest and most reliable in the country, but appears the investments and ads are paying off. >> so we directly ask both business and residential customers, are you aware of the work the local utility is doing to improve safety? gas and electric actually has the highest response in the nation to that question. >> high awareness that he says should translate to better customer reviews down the road. >> we'll continue working on our system to make sure it's the safest. we're going to keep making the upgrades we've committed to
make. and i think in doing that, we might see the scores increase, and i hope we do. >> and j.d. power's energy director told us it could take two, three or even four years for the work a utility company does to have a noticeable impact on overall customer satisfaction. bottom line, pg & e is not the safest and most reliable in the country. but if the it's on its way up, that does seem to be true. we're just getting started. coming up next on this edition of "reality check," governor brown claims virtually no republicans on capitol hill believe in climate change. we dive into the claim and let the numbers speak for themselves. and it's hard to watch tv these days without seeing ads claiming the virtue of reverse mortgages for seniors. are these ads telling consumers the truth?
welcome back to "reality check," there have been more than 23 wildfires in california this year, plus a persistent drought. governor brown recently said climate change is to blame for the extreme conditions and made a bold claim about certain members of congress. specifically, he said, quote, it is true that there is virtually no republican that accepts the science of climate change. i mean, there is no scientific question, just political denial. so is it true that virtually no republican lawmakers believe in climate change? let's check it out by the numbers. what you'll see is there are 278 total elected republicans in congress. that is the house and senate combined. and based on the web site, eight of those folks have been on the record as saying they believe in climate change. it would be nine, but john mccain flip-flopped his stance. if you're doing the math, that is 3% of all republican lawmakers in our nation's capital, backing climate change publicly. looks like the governor knew what he was talking about.
moving on now. so governor brown blames climate change for the rise in wildfires and our crippling drought. whether you agree with him or not, one claim that's popped up countless times is that it's the worst drought in california's history. do the numbers actually support that? we decided to take a look. >> reporter: the water picture isn't perfect in california. with basic supply now coming into question. reservoirs in many areas are running low. state resources from the sacramento, san joaquin delta, the most important water source in the state are strained and largely cut off for the time being. so how bad is this drought? and what risks does it pose to bay area residents? >> we still have low levels from a couple of dry years previously. some of the basins are dry. >> the director of uc davis' center for water sciences
rejects the claim of an epic drought for now. according to the department of water resources, 2013-'14 is just the third worst in california's recorded history. thanks to a recent spade of storms, we've made up some ground and could end up between fourth and sixth all time. not as bad. but water isn't plentiful and the drought will affect some folks in the bay. >> yes, there are concerns in this san francisco bay area. especially in the north bay. the north bay is dependent on local supplies, local reservoirs. >> heather works at the open bay specific institute and studied california droughts extensively. says northern california and the central valley have taken a hit, particularly regions dependent on local sources. an example would be the north bay and its reliance on the russian river. now, california had severe water shortages in 17 communities throughout the state, including the north bay. that number has been whittled
down to five. don't let your guard down, the problem could swell up again this summer, even in places like the south bay, the draw from a variety of sources, like the san luis reservoir. i'm standing at the base of the san luis reservoir. and things look fine down here. you can see the water levels behind me seem to be fairly plentiful. but the thing you want to be paying attention to is not where the water levels are right now but where they used to be. and if you take a glance over the hills over my shoulder, you can see the water marks are halfway up that ridge if not higher. that's where the water should be. lucky for santa clara residents, the area is partly protected by a number of factors. ground water supply, diversity of sources, even investments in recycled water. should the drought continue beyond this year? experts say everybody everywhere is going to be vulnerable. >> the reality is these types of droughts will become more frequent and intense. our population is going to continue to grow, our economy grows and water is limited in
california. so we need to learn how to live within our means. >> climate experts believe this drought could last another year or another few years, nobody knows for sure. california may receive some much-needed rain from el nino, a weather pattern expected to impact the bay area this fall. but there's no guarantee it'll end the drought. while this drought is bad, it's not the worst in california's history. well, coming up next, ronald reagan's legacy continues to find a spotlight as republican candidates across the country tout his record and promise to follow his lead in campaigns throughout the u.s. but one prominent politico says reagan's accomplishments include legalizing abortion and raising taxes. is that true? plus -- >> any of these guys for reverse mortgages, i cringe on that. >> and a california woman's experiences with reverse mortgages left her feeling jilted. is she alone? we'll take a microscope to all
welcome back to "reality check." with political campaigns in full swing this year, many republican candidates are promising to honor the legacy of ronald reagan. and governor as he did. in fact, reagan's legacy is frequently brought up as the gold standard for conservative policy. but now, one of california's top democrats is challenging the accuracy of that legacy. so we did a little digging to see if history really is being too kind to our former governor and president. he has his own super carrier in the u.s. navy fleet the uss reagan. there's an airport in the d.c. area named after him. but more could be done, well-known anti-tax republican
grover norquist says every county in the u.s. should have something named after ronald reagan. california democratic chair john burton has responded telling norquist in this letter, quote, i fondly remember him signing the largest tax increase in the more than 100-year history of our state and signing the bill that liberalized abortion to therapeutic abortion acts. are these claims right? reagan wasn't really a true conservative? >> norquist and john burton are partly right but partly wrong, as well. what they're doing is using history to suit their current political agenda. >> first, let's get to the facts. as reagan biographer and u.s. history professor points out, yes, reagan did sign the abortion act in 1967. in that year, there were 518 legal abortions in california. in 1968, the number jumped to 5,018, then up to 15,000 the next year and by 1970, it was up
to 65,000, but he says that doesn't tell the context. >> reagan came to regret that. he came to regret he passed that law later on. >> secondly, the moral majority led by jerry folwell was not a key element of the republican party when reagan did that in the 1960s. >> former reagan senior policy adviser bruce bartlett wrote in an article called reagan's forgotten tax record that reagan's 1967 $1 billion tax increase took up a third of tax revenues making it the state's largest increase ever. but again, he points out this was before tax cut mania gripped the nation in the 1970s. he says it doesn't really speak to reagan's politics. >> when you look at the big record, though, and look at reagan's actual speeches, he was far from a progressive. and actually, he moved the country further to the right as governor and as president.
>> the reality is this, as president, ronald reagan strongly believed in smaller government, lower taxes and pro-life issues. yet, it is also a fact that as california's governor, he signed laws increasing taxes and paved the way for millions of abortions. so how do we connect these two separate realities? the answer may be that society changed and reagan adapted, at least the facts tell us so. coming up next, keeping an eye out for seniors looking to cash in on their home. >> if you've been thinking about financial options and how to provide some real security for you and your family, you really ought to consider a reverse mortgage. >> there's fred thompson, celebrities like him are pitching reverse mortgages in ads like this one running a nonstop here in the bay area and elsewhere across the country. but do reverse mortgages actually provide seniors and their families with real security? what's the reality and the risks attached? we'll tell you. we'll be right back. [ heart beating ]
[ female announcer ] the internet gets more exciting the faster it goes. that's why, coming soon, xfinity will double the internet speed on two of our most popular plans. xfinity continues to innovate, bringing you the fastest, most reliable internet, period. [ heart beating ] xfinity internet from comcast. double the speed. [ heart beats ] double the speed. heat shields are compromised. we what's that alarm?ures. fuel cell two is down. i'm going to have to guide her in manually. this is very exciting. but i'm at my stop.
come again? i'm watching this on the train. it's so hard to leave. good luck with everything. watch tv virtually anywhere with the u-verse tv app. with at&t, the u-verse revolves around you. and welcome back. it is easy money that can help seniors ease into retirement. that is the tantalizing pitch to get people into a reverse mortgage. elderly folks get a stream of cash backed by the value of their house and the promise they'll get to keep their home, too. but what details are being left out of these tv ads? we decided to take a look. >> if you've been thinking about financial options for your retirement future and how to provide some real security for
you and your family, you really ought to consider a reverse mortgage. >> the ads pop up all over the air waves with celebrity pitch men like fred thompson talking about the slam dunk deal that is a reverse mortgage. her dad certainly bought it. >> he saw, apparently, a marvelous commercial on tv that made it all sound so great and he called the number. they sent him a cd. >> a former veteran of three wars, noreen's father needed more money, he took out the loan. >> this was the home we were fighting so hard to keep in our family. >> and the decision nearly cost noreen and her family their decades old sacramento house and a lot of their own cash. >> $171,000. >> and the best part, you continue to retain complete ownership of your home. >> you see, this claim isn't exactly true. >> there are no credit score requirements. >> we showed the ad to consumers
union senior attorney norma garcia who works at the policy arm of consumer reports. she set the record straight. >> typically, the home is the sale of the home is used as a collateral to pay off the loan. >> that's a point reinforced on the report issued by the federally run consumer financial protection bureau. as the agency shows in the graphic, the home is squeezed for cash then sold to pay it back. the report says when you move out, sell your home or die, your loan must be paid off. usually the loan is paid off when the home is sold. >> what happens to individuals not on the loan? you have an adult child living with you who is disabled. you care for grandchildren who aren't on the loan. if you die, they don't get to stay in the home. >> any of these ads for reverse mortgages, i cringe. >> thankfully, there were no dependents living in the home, just a brother and sister who wanted to keep the family heirloom in the family and had to pay to do it catching
everybody offguard. >> i had no idea it was going to be drawn out the way it was. >> and here's the thing, reverse mortgages aren't necessarily risky endeavors, but certainly can be financial advisers using them as a tool of last resort for senior citizens. still, there are plenty of strings attached here. you have to stay current on your property taxes, maintain your home insurance policy and keep your house in good condition. they're all critical. miss any one of those requirements, and you could lose your home. these are all things to consider when reverse mortgage pitch men tell you this is a safe, financial tool that lets you keep your home. these stories and more can be viewed on our website, nbcbayarea.com/realitycheck. we tackle issues both locally and nationally that affect you. so please feel free to submit an idea with your ideas. and that will conclude this edition of "reality check."
it is a platform for making sure the statements, claims and assertions of our leaders are not just taken at face value, but that you get the truth. thank you for joining us for this "reality check" special. watch our segments during the week in our 6:00 p.m. newscast and hope you'll join us for the next show coming up in two weeks. we'll see you then.
welcome to "on the money." dismal mick news but the markets shrug it up. and what about the dow. and go progo goes public. >> and a billion dollar camera company. world cup fever. can the beautiful game become america's game? it seems like every suburban kid plays soccer but can it crack the top echelon of sports in the u.s. how much have you socked away for that rainy day fund? what's the magic number just in case. and how do you get there? "on the money" starts right now. here's a look at what's making news as we head into a new week "on the money." a stunningly bad report o